Recipe Image

Flavorful Sautéed Greens

Gerri French, MS/RD, CDE
March 2005

Leafy greens are power foods that contain beneficial nutrients including magnesium and calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, fiber and protein with few carbohydrates and calories. Choose them more often and experiment with various seasonings that meet your taste preferences.

Ingredients & Methods

Flavorful Sautéed Greens


  1. Prepare greens by removing tough or woody stems. Wash well but do not dry, and chop roughly.
  2. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until the garlic just starts to color.
  3. Add greens, toss well with the oil and garlic, season lightly with salt and pepper, cover pan, and cook until bright green and the greens are wilted and stems are tender. Cooking time will vary. Very tender leafy greens such as spinach, arugula and watercress will be done in just a minute or two. Sturdier ones like kale and collards will take several minutes longer.
  4. Add your choice of seasonings, if desired.


  • Add dried red pepper flakes while cooking
  • Add 2 or 3 crushed canned or salted anchovy fillets and dried red pepper flakes to the heated oil before adding the greens
  • Add freshly grated ginger root while cooking
  • Toss the cooked greens with lemon juice and grated nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or ginger
  • Dress cooked greens with a splash of balsamic vinegar, thinly sliced red onions and toasted pine nuts
  • Serve greens with peanut sauce made by mixing ¼ cup natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Serve greens with orange-sesame sauce made by mixing 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
  • Top cooked greens with your choice of toasted nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts)
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